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Author Topic: PC234, Giant Episode: The Tricks Of London  (Read 2815 times)
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« on: November 14, 2012, 02:32:33 AM »

PodCastle 234, Giant Episode: The Tricks Of London

by Elizabeth Bear

Read by John Trevallian

Originally published as a Chap Book by Subterranean Press.

“That’s the third damned dead whore in seventeen days,” Detective Inspector Rupert Bitner said, his educated tones incongruous to his choice of words. He slurped tea loudly from the chipped enamel lid of a vacuum flask. Before Detective Sergeant Sean Cuan could warn him of the narrow figure approaching through the shadowy line of uniformed constables behind, Bitner continued, “And why we’re out here in the rain because somebody’s doing us a favor, can you explain to me?”

“Hello, Crown Investigator,” Cuan said, louder and sooner than necessary. He pushed past Bitner, the wings of his greatcoat brushing the senior investigator’s legs, and dropped his hastily capped fountain pen into his own coat pocket. Cold rain dripped from the rim of Cuan’s tipped umbrella and somehow worked past the brim of his bowler to trickle down his collar. He firmed his jaw to hide the flinch and extended his right hand.

“This is DI Rupert Bitner. I’m DS John Coen. We’re with CID.”

Introducing the DI first wouldn’t mollify Bitner enough–nothing would sweeten his mood after an encounter with one of the Crown’s Own, especially this one–but it might help blunt the edges. Unfortunately, reciting their ranks made it a little too plain that the newly established Criminal Investigations Division was modeled closely on the Crown Investigators–and that Garrett ranked them.

Cuan cleared his throat and finished, “We’re certainly relieved to see you.”

Someone leaning out one of the lamplit windows two or three stories above catcalled. Someone else hollered at him to shut up. Cuan didn’t look up to mark from which rooms the noises issued. The Detective Crown Investigator squinted at his hand as if unfamiliar with the appendage, but after a moment she transferred her blue velvet carpetbag to her left hand and laid her dainty glove across his palm before withdrawing it just as quickly.

She didn’t carry an umbrella, as if impervious to the rain, but Cuan noticed her dress was sturdy, warm wool rather than silk or organdy. Her back was straight in her corset and her expression never flickered, even when Bitner snorted and slurped more tea, deliberately discourteous.

“DCI Garrett, Detective Sergeant.”


Rated R: Contains violence.

Listen to this week’s PodCastle!
« Last Edit: November 14, 2012, 04:18:37 AM by eytanz » Logged
John_in_Calgary
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« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2012, 08:14:47 PM »

As some of my past comments reflect, I am not always a fan of the actual story told here on podcastle. The telling is usually very good, with high audio quality and excellent readers. But the meat of the tale doesn't always satisfy.

In the past the 'Giant' episodes have been that way to my perception. Making me wish they were a little tighter, a little faster to the punch. And to be blunt this one has a scene or two that exists to explode a world that is larger then the story that I wouldn't miss if cut from the movie.

All that being said I really liked it. Liked it enough to check out the authors other books on her website and discover that I have the start of another series of hers on my nightstand, awaiting it's turn.

The punk edge of steampunk that I like to find wasn't here in this story. Making it feel more like an urban fantasy but in the past, but that may have been the point. No other elements, other then the period suggested steampunk now that I come to write out my thoughts.

Thank you for another excellent episode, and as I am currently relistening to all the episodes of the escape pod family that I have in order of length I shall eventually get to whole hours of the podcastle giant episodes to give them another go. Even if I don't like the story I do stay to hear it told most of the time.
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« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2012, 09:24:55 AM »

20 minutes in I didn't really care if I heard more, so I skipped to the outro.  I mean, things had happened, with the criminal investigations and all, but I didn't feel like I cared about anybody, and the mystery wasn't so mysterious that it really drew me in.  I'm rarely interested in crime drama on TV, so I'm just probably the wrong demographic.  If there was more to it than police procedural, then it should've gotten to that in the first 20 minutes.
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Max e^{i pi}
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« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2012, 02:12:42 PM »

I have no strong feelings about this story in either direction.
It just sort of washed over me without me enjoying too much or hating it.
Took me three commutes though.
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« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2012, 02:34:36 PM »

This is the kind of story I'd much rather read. While it was somewhat interesting and the narration was good, it took so long to develop that by the time I got back in the car after work to listen to more, I just didn't want to invest the time.

I would probably read this if it came across my Magical Device of Awesome, but I'm so backlogged on podcasts that I just don't have time to listen to it.
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« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2012, 08:55:56 AM »

I was happy to see Elizabeth Bear's name come up because I've recently become a fan of hers. This story took a little while to get into because I kept doing that "Is this urban fantasy set in the 19th century or is this steampunk?" thing in my head. And then I kept trying to decide if this was the story of Jack the Ripper retold or if it was something else.

I finally did get into it once I had enough answers, and enjoyed the story. But I'm with Listener, in that I'd rather read this than listen to it. In fact, I fully intend to read this story and her others set in this same universe. Partly because, as I said: Bear fan, but also partly because this story felt like an excerpt of something larger, and I want to read that something larger.

I was curious about the Cuan/Coen thing. It was hard to imagine the spellings in audio, so I kept thinking Cuinn and Cohen, or Quinn (pronounced oddly, but given how the British pronounce Don Juan . . .) and Cohen . . . It was distracting from the story as I tried to figure out the spelling of the names. Is that weird? Smiley
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« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2012, 03:04:05 PM »

I have no strong feelings about this story in either direction.
It just sort of washed over me without me enjoying too much or hating it.
Took me three commutes though.

Ditto, except for it taking only 1.5 commutes.
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« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2012, 01:03:28 PM »

I listened to this story in the middle of a backpacking trip during a rainstorm in a tent, so I was pretty much immersed before it started.  Maybe that amplified the appeal this story had for me, because I enjoyed it.  I don't tend to try to categorize stories that much, so that wasn't a hangup for me.  More than the setting though, there are also specific interactions in the story that I thought were really well done that pulled me in.  Mainly the tension between Cohen and Garrett, which not only was interesting, but I also liked the outcome.  I also liked how my perception of Bitner evolved through the story.  I started out not liking him much, but as more events unfold, a noble character is revealed.  He was a well portrayed guy who's harsh in words but his actions are what he holds important and reveal his nature.  The overall story of "Catch the Killer" is one we've heard many times, but I think the people in this one make it special.
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« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2012, 05:59:52 AM »


I was curious about the Cuan/Coen thing. It was hard to imagine the spellings in audio, so I kept thinking Cuinn and Cohen, or Quinn (pronounced oddly, but given how the British pronounce Don Juan . . .) and Cohen . . . It was distracting from the story as I tried to figure out the spelling of the names. Is that weird? Smiley

Hmm, how do non-English people pronounce Don Juan then? I've always pronounced it like the Spanish do, some thing like Don Hwan with a phlegmy cough on the "Hwa-"

Liked the story and really likes the setting BTW
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Devoted135
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« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2012, 03:53:18 PM »

::steals Talia's magical positivity hat::

Wow, I would have predicted that this would be a lot more positively received!

::gently returns Talia's hat to her head::


I really enjoyed this story! I appreciated that both Cuan and the Crown Investigator (I forget her name) felt quite three-dimensional, and their relationship took a really interesting turn. By the end of the story we had characters who were genuinely changed by working with each other, and we "got the bad guy" to boot. I will admit to sort of tuning out the main action scene, it was just too hard to try and imagine all of the details being thrown at me. However, that's a small nitpick for a problem that wouldn't exist if I were reading the story instead of listening to it. Loved the story, and loved the reading. Smiley
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Kaa
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« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2012, 04:02:05 PM »

Hmm, how do non-English people pronounce Don Juan then? I've always pronounced it like the Spanish do, some thing like Don Hwan with a phlegmy cough on the "Hwa-"

I've been taught by a couple of English teachers that the "proper" British pronunciation of the Byron poem is "JOO-un."

I checked Wikipedia just to be sure I wasn't dreaming, and found this:

Quote
Till, after cloying the gazettes with cant,
The age discovers he is not the true one;
Of such as these I should not care to vaunt,
I'll therefore take our ancient friend Don Juan

So, since the poem rhymes, it's clear that Byron, at least, thought it should be "JOO un."
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« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2012, 05:59:23 PM »

there are also specific interactions in the story that I thought were really well done that pulled me in.  Mainly the tension between Cohen and Garrett, which not only was interesting, but I also liked the outcome.  I also liked how my perception of Bitner evolved through the story.  I started out not liking him much, but as more events unfold, a noble character is revealed.  He was a well portrayed guy who's harsh in words but his actions are what he holds important and reveal his nature.  The overall story of "Catch the Killer" is one we've heard many times, but I think the people in this one make it special.

I hope you don't mind my taking the easy way out, but that pretty much sums it up for me.  I'd go to a dinner party with these people.
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« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2012, 10:04:30 AM »

So, since the poem rhymes, it's clear that Byron, at least, thought it should be "JOO un."

No kidding?  I've heard it pronounced that way before, and I thought it was being mispronounced for comic effect.

It's pronounced that way in a song in the Les Miserables musical too:
"You talk of battles to be won,
And here he comes like Don Juan
It's better than an Opera!"
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Umbrageofsnow
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« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2012, 04:12:49 PM »

I definitely liked this story better than "Wane" but that's about all the good I have to say about it.  I listened to it two nights ago and I've already forgotten the majority of the details.  I liked that the characters had comprehensible life goals: wanting to go to Victorian Hogwarts or whatever, which is more than I could say about "Wane", but as Unblinking and Max already said, I just didn't give a crap about the plot or the characters really.

I think I just don't like this series, which is funny because I love Elizabeth Bear for most of her other short stories, particularly the awesome Mongoose/Boojum/Wreck of the Charles Dexter Ward series over on the Drabblecast, and Shoggoths in Bloom from Asimov's a few years back.
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« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2012, 05:13:34 PM »

Overall I liked this one, but nothing specific that comes to mind to praise. I had a similar problem as with "Wane" for identifying and parsing out all the different characters and their multiple names. As a short story there are a couple scenes that could have been trimmed (the carriage ride comes to mind) but as part of a series, they may add more value.
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« Reply #15 on: December 03, 2012, 09:45:31 AM »

I definitely liked this story better than "Wane" but that's about all the good I have to say about it.  I listened to it two nights ago and I've already forgotten the majority of the details.  I liked that the characters had comprehensible life goals: wanting to go to Victorian Hogwarts or whatever, which is more than I could say about "Wane", but as Unblinking and Max already said, I just didn't give a crap about the plot or the characters really.

Oh, this is connected with "Wane"?  I guess that makes sense.  I hadn't realized.

I think I just don't like this series, which is funny because I love Elizabeth Bear for most of her other short stories, particularly the awesome Mongoose/Boojum/Wreck of the Charles Dexter Ward series over on the Drabblecast, and Shoggoths in Bloom from Asimov's a few years back.

Yes, Bear/Monette's Mongoose-world stories are fantastic.  I saw Bear at a party at WorldCon, but got sidetracked before I got a chance to talk to her, I wanted to gush a bit about those stories.
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« Reply #16 on: December 07, 2012, 07:19:52 AM »

This episode delighted me so much that it inspired me to join the forum and post for the first time since I began listening to the Escape Artists podcasts some years ago.  I was left wanting more and kept returning to think about the characters in the story in the days after I read it. Thank you for introducing me to Elizabeth Bear, Podcastle staff!
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« Reply #17 on: December 07, 2012, 09:36:51 AM »

This episode delighted me so much that it inspired me to join the forum and post for the first time since I began listening to the Escape Artists podcasts some years ago.  I was left wanting more and kept returning to think about the characters in the story in the days after I read it. Thank you for introducing me to Elizabeth Bear, Podcastle staff!


Yay!  A first-time poster with good things to say.  You're my hero jar55.

Also, here's some links to Elizabeth Bear awesomeness for you, the aforementioned Mongoose series on Drabblecast:
Mongoose:
http://www.drabblecast.org/2010/07/03/drabblecast-170-mongoose-part-i-by-sarah-monette-and-elizabeth-bear-drabble-the-monkeys-by-chris-munroe/
http://www.drabblecast.org/2010/07/10/drabblecast-171-mongoose-part-ii-by-sarah-monette-and-elizabeth-bear/

Boojum:
http://www.drabblecast.org/2011/04/08/drabblecast-202-boojum-part-i-by-elizabeth-bear-and-sarah-monette/
http://www.drabblecast.org/2011/04/18/drabblecast-203-boojum-part-ii-by-elizabeth-bear-and-sarah-monette/

The Wreck of the Charles Dexter Ward:
http://www.drabblecast.org/2012/08/31/drabblecast-254-the-wreck-of-the-charles-dexter-ward-pt-1/
http://www.drabblecast.org/2012/09/06/drabblecast-255-the-wreck-of-the-charles-dexter-ward-pt-2/
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Umbrageofsnow
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« Reply #18 on: December 07, 2012, 01:52:17 PM »

This episode delighted me so much that it inspired me to join the forum and post for the first time since I began listening to the Escape Artists podcasts some years ago.  I was left wanting more and kept returning to think about the characters in the story in the days after I read it. Thank you for introducing me to Elizabeth Bear, Podcastle staff!


Welcome to the forum.

The links Unblinking gave you are some of my favorite Elizabeth Bear stories, but you might also want to check out:

These old Escape Pod episodes:
http://escapepod.org/2008/04/24/ep155-tideline/
http://escapepod.org/2008/07/11/ep166-the-something-dreaming-game/

And my personal favorite story by her, which was podcast over on Starship Sofa:
http://www.starshipsofa.com/2009/06/24/aural-delights-no-90-elizabeth-bear/ (Starts about 35 minutes in.)
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« Reply #19 on: January 04, 2013, 01:39:10 PM »

So, since the poem rhymes, it's clear that Byron, at least, thought it should be "JOO un."

No kidding?  I've heard it pronounced that way before, and I thought it was being mispronounced for comic effect.

My understanding (though I could be mistaken) is that Byron knew how it 'should' be pronounced, but deliberately uses the English orthographic pronunciation for, as Unblinking says, comic effect.

A clue comes from this quote (copied from the same Wikipedia article Kaa found):
Quote
"You ask me for the plan of Donny Johnny; I have no plan—I had no plan ... You are too earnest and eager about a work never intended to be serious. Do you suppose that I could have any intention but to giggle and make giggle?—a playful satire, with as little poetry as could be helped, was what I meant."

He's using the poem to make fun of everything he can think of, including English speakers who don't know how to pronounce Spanish.
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